Sadly, there is no one clear answer to the question “how do I cope with grief?” Everyone goes through their own process and deals with the death of a loved one in different ways. The most important thing is to be patient with yourself and others, and allow yourself to feel whatever it is you might be dealing with at any given time.
Coping with Initial Grief
You may have family and friends to help and support you at the time of death, who will also help you with the details and decisions of the funeral. However, there are many people who have no-one to help, in which case they can rely on their Funeral Director, minister, solicitor, or other professionals. Regardless of how many people you do or don’t have around to help, little can prepare you for the grief you may experience. Grief is a normal response to loss. It often brings pain, both physical and emotional. Shock, anger, guilt, regret, numbness and loneliness are some of the feelings which are common.
Coping with Grief after the Funeral
After the funeral, people often find it hard to try to return to their day to day life. The funeral is largely considered the final goodbye, a notion that many of the deceased’s nearest and dearest struggle with. If you are one who is finding it hard to move on, know that there is nothing wrong with this. In fact, long-term grief is common and there are always people experiencing something similar.
The Signs of Grief
Many people are affected physically by their bereavement. You may feel unwell and generally very tired and not wanting to be bothered by anybody or anything. On the other hand, some people cannot sit still and even become hyperactive. There are many other ways that grief can affect you. The important thing is to recognise that the emotional shock can produce a physical reaction. If you do have a recurring physical problem, do make an appointment to see your doctor.
Many bereaved people have ‘heard’ the voice of their loved one, or even believe they have seen them. Such experiences are not uncommon, but do not usually last for many weeks.
Strategies for Coping with Grief
Different people find different ways of managing their grief. Do not be afraid of crying or showing emotion. Tears are known to relieve emotional stress and there is nothing to be ashamed of; they are a demonstration of the feelings you have for the person you have lost. Allow yourself time to grieve and adjust to your new situation, and always take time before making major decisions such as moving house.
Talking in complete confidence with someone, who is trained in supporting bereaved people, can be very helpful. Having the reassurance that your fears and anxieties are quite normal has proved to be a comfort to many thousands of bereaved people.
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